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The Wettest Place in the British Isles

Nature volume 140, page 540 (25 September 1937) | Download Citation



DR. J. GLASSPOOLE, in an article entitled "The Wettest Place in the British Isles", which appears in the Meteorological Magazine of July, seeks to end the false idea so commonly held that Seathwaite, in Borrowdale, is the wettest place in Great Britain. He points out that there are several small areas nearly twice as wet as Seathwaite, and suggests that the common error has lasted so long because meteorological literature has not provided definite figures to disprove it. This lack of precise information has been due to the lack of rain gauges near the summits of the highest mountains in the four wettest areas over which the average annual rainfall exceeds 150 inches—areas in Snowdonia, the English Lake District, on Ben Nevis, and at the head of the River Garry in the western highlands of Scotland. Dr. Glasspoole considers that in the light of records now available and a study of the relationship between average rainfall and the configuration of the land, estimates can be made of the maximum rainfall in each of the four areas. In Snowdonia we have Glaslyn, at 2,500 feet, with 198 inches, which is probably a little less than the figure for the summit, only about 500 yards away. In the Lake District it is thought that 185 inches is not exceeded in the wettest area, which includes Scafell and Scafell Pikes, while Ben Nevis, in spite of its greater elevation, is more isolated and in consequence offers less obstruction to the moisture-bearing winds, and its summit has a rainfall estimated at only about 165 inches. At the head of the River Garry, however, the fall on Sgurr na Ciche is thought to be comparable with that of the summit of Snowdon over a small area, namely, about 200 inches, compared with the 129 inches of Seathwaite Farm, which last is not even the wettest habitation in Great Britain.

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